The Abingdon Rally was blessed with decent boating weather with no rain and normal summer temperatures, not the blistering heat of the earlier weeks. This year the club rally was put back a week to avoid the bank holiday rush and travelled further than the normal meeting points of Henley or Hurley. The deferred start proved to be very beneficial as we experienced no queues at any of the locks making the trip more enjoyable (we waited 2 hours at Temple lock last year) but on the other hand the longer run to Abingdon prevented some crews going due to the time commitment involved. This is a consideration when we plan next years itinerary.
As Pastiche had not yet been past Goring we had planned to stop at Wallingford on route to explore the town but we didn’t realise it was their Bunkfest festivities week so the moorings were rammed full, 3 abreast in places. So we continued up to Abingdon where we joined 4 other club boats for afternoon tea on the moorings just downstream of the bridge. We moved to the lock moorings on the Saturday where there was sufficient space for the 6 boats that made the trip with Roger and Denise joining us by car. As is usual we have to offer Phil a big “Thank You” for producing the tent and the barbeque from the tardis that is Kerry Anne which encouraged most people to stay up chatting and drinking until after their bedtime.
A high point of the weekend was the walking tour of Oxford arranged by Julia which saw most of the crews jump on the number X13 bus from Abingdon town centre and disembark in Oxford for a look around the fantastic Westgate shopping mall before meeting for the tour at 2 o’clock. The tour itself was led by a mature student who related a few interesting stories about the places we visited over the 2 hour duration of the walk and whilst it was advertised as a free tour, the guide suggested that we may want to tip him at the end if we had enjoyed it. I think he was happy as most of the 22 people in our group pushed a note into his hand as they left.
The walk concluded, we all retired to the garden of The Bear, reported to be the 2nd oldest pub in England, where a cold drink set us up for the return bus journey.
As fate would have it the Abingdon lock keeper got married on the Saturday and it was a small treat for us all to witness the lockie and his new wife arriving on an EA boat with flashing blue lights, into the lock where all the wedding guests were waiting suitably dressed ready to throw handfuls of confetti over the couple as they got out of the boat.